Violet Barton remembers her teenage years doing quadratic equations by candlelight to a soundtrack of bombs and bullets as the Salvadoran Civil War raged around her.
She was forced to migrate to the United States 36 years ago but will go back to El Salvador later this year as a UC Merced graduate student and a Fulbright scholar.
A fourth-year Ph.D. student in Interdisciplinary Humanities, Barton became the campus’ second Fulbright U.S. Student scholar, following in her daughter Danielle Bermudez’s footsteps. Bermudez became the campus’s first Fulbright Student Award recipient just a few weeks ago.
This isn’t the first time Bermudez has paved a path for her mother — it’s because Barton was interested in Bermudez’s graduate studies at UC Merced that she applied to grad school here, too.
Barton has already won several prestigious awards including the Miguel Velez, the UC Humanities Research Institute’s Critical Refugee Studies Collective, the Center for the Humanities and the Eugene Cota-Robles fellowships.
“As a young immigrant woman of color, whose life was interrupted by war, I would have never thought I’d be able to get a Fulbright. That’s something that happens to other people,” Barton said. “And my daughter led the way — that makes me incredibly proud.”
The Fulbright Program is a highly competitive scholarly program that aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Through this prestigious award, she joins distinguished Fulbright alumni around the world who have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists and teachers. They include 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 71 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.
Barton and Bermudez, who already left for nine months of research in El Salvador, will likely cross paths, though Barton doesn’t know exactly when she will ship out after her Fulbright orientation in June.